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Careful! If you drive too fast you might miss it. We call the road between Xemxija (shem-shee-yah) and Mellieha (Mel-lee-ha) the cradle because it goes down before it starts going up again. At the bottom of the cradle there is a turning on the left for Mistra Bay. Take that road and keep on driving until you get to the bay. There on your left, perched on the beach is the Palazzo Santa Rosa Estate.

Mistra Bay is called such not because of the Mistral winds. The word Mistra has Maghreb origins that indicate that this is a peaceful, restful or sheltered cove. Mistrah means rest.

Think of a movie from the sixties with Richard Burton and Liz Taylor sailing into a secluded bay in their Riva Tender, mooring it and strolling up to a shaded terrace with a bottle of Domaine Ott Rosé in a bucket waiting for them on a crisp white linen laid table. You will not be far off from reality here at Palazzo Santa Rosa.

With hills on the left and on the right of the property, we are sheltered from all winds except southerly winds. The hills change colour throughout the year. Yet between April and May a strong wind blows in the valley that parches every green blade of grass. So it is not the dry weather that kills the vegetation, but the wind. Just before the winds though, the fields are a patchwork of colours and various hues of green. With the blue waters and the clear blue skies, the place is a sight to behold.

In summer (summer being when the temperature is above 21C after sunset) we serve lunch and dinner outside on one of our three terraces. You may sit under the 120 year old palm tree or the beautiful olive tree. If you have a private function you may sit under the trellises on the jasmine terrace.

In any case you do not come to Palazzo Santa Rosa for a quick lunch or dinner. We have a one seating policy. Be prepared to laze over a good lunch. Nothing is rushed here. We even encourage you to take a stroll between courses. Go for a rummage in the fields, pick some wild berries, figs or fresh almonds. You need time to take it all in. We will not rush you. Come back for desserts and coffee.

God (He or She, we have not made up our mind about that yet) did not cut corners when creating Mistra Bay. We certainly don't want to ruin it by curtailing your experience of this hidden gem.

© palazzo santa rosa - mistra bay, maltaIMAGE GALLERY

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